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A dying 3-year-old boy’s dream comes true when he becomes a firefighter like dad on his last birthday


Trucker Dukes | Captain James Grismer with Trucker Dukes | Source: facebook.com/TeamTrucker

An adorable three-year-old boy and his family faced one of life’s most painful battles when he was diagnosed with cancer. As the challenges progressed, the child’s smile never wavered thanks to the kindness of the New York firefighters who welcomed him as one of their own.

Trucker Dukes grew up in Hawaii looking up to his father, Josh Dukes, who worked as a firefighter. The youngster loved big red trucks and was looking forward to wearing his mini firefighter costume as soon as possible.

The Dukes family were heartbroken when they learned their little man was sick. Trucker was only two years old at the time and had stage 4 cancer. He spent months away from home seeking treatment in New York with his mother by his side.

The little boy’s dream

Shauna Dukes knew her son dreamed of working for the fire department when he was older. This was not surprising as his connection with the fire stations started before he was born. The mom shared:

“When he was born, we did most Sundays at the fire station. When he got sick – he was actually just a baby – the only thing that lit him up was the fire truck, when he heard sirens outside.”

The friendliness of strangers

Knowing Trucker may never have the chance to see his goals of becoming a firefighter come to fruition, the mum saddened. She never expected a group of strangers to show up and grant Trucker’s wishes.

But that’s precisely what happened when the New York Fire Department crew at the 85th Street Fire Station, Engine 22, Ladder 13, Battalion 10, learned of the little boy’s story. .

Shauna called the fire department, who quickly became like family, and she couldn’t believe what happened next. New York City Fire Marshal Daniel A. Nigro was touched by the little trucker’s journey and gave him the opportunity to do something amazing.

The unexpected gesture

To Shauna and Trucker’s surprise, fire trucks were lined up outside their building when they arrived home one day in 2016. The youngster couldn’t contain his joy and ran into the commotion, jumping into arms of Captain James Grismer.

The captain was thrilled and shared that the moment was remarkable, and seeing how much it meant to Trucker was priceless. The little one’s face lit up and the hug felt like something out of a movie. Grismer added:

“I see this little boy walking towards me excitedly, his eyes shining. I opened my arms and he climbed up and hugged me around the neck. It felt like we had been friends/brothers for years.”

The surprise visit meant the world to Trucker, and he enjoyed every minute he spent looking at the trucks and seeing the world of the men and women of the New York Fire Department inside. Little did the boy know there was even more reason to be excited.

Nothing stopped the firefighters from spreading the love

The friendliness of the firefighters was unfailing, and they welcomed the youngster to their fire station for his third birthday, where he was their guest of honour. Their generosity and support was unexpected, showing the goodness that remains in the world.

The gestures allowed Trucker and his mom to focus on something other than his illness. Living away from the rest of their family was also difficult, so any happiness they received was precious.

Shauna was impressed with the firefighters and their dedication to Trucker. Nothing stopped them from investing in his life and making sure he knew they cared. When Trucker was too sick to visit, the team brought meals and love to his hospital.

Make your dream a reality

Shauna called the fire department, who quickly became like family, and she couldn’t believe what happened next. New York City Fire Marshal Daniel A. Nigro was touched by the little trucker’s journey and allowed him to do something extraordinary.

He gave the toddler something he and his family would never forget. The youngster was sworn in as an honorary member of the FDNY’s Brooklyn headquarters. He could proudly call himself one of New York’s bravest and enjoyed the celebratory ceremony on Randall’s Island.

The emotional event

The moment was emotional for Shauna; she thanked everyone for coming and honoring her baby boy. The audience cheered as Trucker and his father walked across the stage.

The event was memorable and featured the singing of the national anthem, a time of prayer and a speech before the youngster laid his hand on the Bible and took the oath. Trucker also received a plaque and a uniform, which he treasured very much.

The fire station and the caring people who worked there helped the Dukes family beyond compare. Shauna knew the team would be their friend for life.

The young man died

On March 3, 2017, the moment everyone dreaded arrived. The little trucker passed away peacefully in his mother’s arms. The family was devastated but grateful for the memory bank filled with precious moments.

Although his death was the hardest thing they had ever faced and they miss him terribly, there was a silver lining. Trucker saw one of his biggest dreams come true: he was a junior firefighter!

The little one’s family hoped that Trucker’s story would encourage others to cherish their time with their loved ones. On their community Facebook page, a statement read:

“We will honor him and live our lives as the best fathers, mothers, brothers and sisters, husbands, wives and people of God. We love you little warrior. Run free in paradise without pain, without tears, without suffering! !”

The Dukes family set out to inspire people after Trucker passed away. Their plans included an RV road trip with stops to perform random acts of kindness.

The family adventure was called #TruckerRidesWithUs, and it allowed the youngster’s loved ones to bless others and ensure the continued existence of Trucker’s legacy.

Click here for another inspiring story about firefighters going the extra mile for an injured child. The little boy from Arizona lost his parents in a car accident, so the fire crew did everything they could to comfort him.


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